If you like architecture and are a classical music lover, then this concert hall in the heart of Barcelona is a must see. While the rest of us were focused on the famed Gaudi sites, the popular Gothic Quarter, Picasso Museum and Buqueria Market, our daughter Rani who plays the cello was most excited about seeing the Palau de Musica Catalana. What an unexpected treat this concert hall turned out to be! The Pulau de Musica Catalana may not be Gaudi or Picasso but is a worthwhile “off the beaten path” visit in the heart of Barcelona.
A departure from the famed Gaudi style of architecture Palau de Musica Catalana is a concert hall that was designed and managed by Gaudi’s contemporary, architect Lluís Domènech i Mo. He built this concert hall in what is known as the modern Catalan style of architecture. A beautiful concert hall designed with stained glass, colorful tile work and beauty in mind, Lluís Domènech personally managed the construction of every aspect of this stunning music hall.
In the early 1900s during the time when the Palau was being designed the wealthy citizens of Barcelona were becoming more sympathetic toward the revival of Renaixença, the Catalan language and culture and asked Lluís Domènech to use building materials and techniques that symbolized the Catalan character. In response, he commissioned and gave great creative freedom to a variety of local artisans and craftsmen to produce all the beautiful ornamentation and decorative structural elements for which the Palau is famous.
The design of the Palau is typical of a style called Catalan modernism in that curves predominate over straight lines and rich decorations that emphasize floral and other organic motifs are used extensively.
The Palau’s architecture incorporates many elements from traditional Spanish and Arabic architecture such as exposed red brick and iron, mosaics, stained glass, and glazed tiles that were all chosen and placed in just the right spaces to give a feeling of openness and transparency.
The concert hall seat over 2000 people and is the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated during the day entirely by natural light. The walls on two sides consist primarily of stained-glass panels and a giant skylight of stained glass designed by Antoni Rigalt in shades of gold and blue is meant to evoke the sun and sky.
The Palau de Musica Catalana is a quick visit that requires no more than an hour to explore. Here one can even buy tickets to attend a concert at this gorgeous music hall.
Situated close to the popular Gothic Quarter one can easily combine a visit to Palau with lunch and a stroll in this picturesque area.